Held last weekend at Temple’s Medical Education and Research Building, Dr. Oz’s 15-Minute Physical was a game-changing event for at least two participants, for whom health screenings revealed life-threatening conditions.
"I think that by coming here today you may have saved your life," Dr. Mehmet Oz told one of the patients, before directing her to Temple University Hospital for emergency care.
Spearheaded by Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Larry Kaiser, CEO of the Temple University Health System, the event was designed to promote the value of prevention and proactive management as vital to good health. Local residents were offered free physical screenings and general health evaluations administered by Temple physicians and medical students, volunteer practitioners and even Dr. Oz himself.
For each participant, volunteers measured key indicators of heart disease and diabetes, two of the most serious and prevalent diseases in the nation. They ran tests checking five key concerns: blood pressure, BMI, weight and blood-sugar and cholesterol levels.
“This is a big deal,” said Oz. “It turns out that 70 percent of how well you feel about yourself depends on things you can control. There are five numbers we want to check on in all [participants], all in 15 minutes.”
For their part, many visitors were eager to take advantage of a rare opportunity to get medical assistance from a public figure. Before launching his nationally syndicated health talk show in 2009, Oz appeared on the “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Larry King Live” and other national television programs.
“I wanted to relay his nutrition tips to my clients,” said Angela Mahone, a physical trainer who attended the event.
Following the screenings, Oz stressed the public benefit of maintaining a healthy population. He presented a "Health Data Report Card" to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Philadelphia Health Commissioner Donald Schwarz, M.D., M.P.H. Among the alarming findings: 43 percent of participants were obese, 43 percent had high blood pressure, and 40 percent were borderline diabetic.
“You can’t be wealthy if you’re not healthy,” said Dr. Oz. “So if we’re sick as a city we’re not going to be able to survive financially either.”
Oz has held similar 15-Minute Physical events in cities throughout the U.S. as part of a nationwide effort to increase awareness of sustainable health practices.
“It works well; we’ve done them around the country,” he said. “But I think if we can make this work, we can begin to make this a larger and larger initiative.”